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VeriFone's Sail mobile card reader reused competitor Square's terms of use

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VeriFone's Sail mobile card reader terms of use reused text from the agreement of competitor Square; the company later removed the duplicate text after being notified.

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VeriFone Sail
VeriFone Sail

When massive payment company VeriFone announced its Sail mobile processing dongle, we couldn't help but notice the similarity to competitor Square. But while the two services have enough differences to let you tell them apart, you can't say the same thing for their user agreements. GigaOm has found that Sail's user agreement apparently copied large parts from the Square agreement, often word-for-word. An entire section on user account histories, for example, contains no differences save for the substitution of "Sail" for "Square," and other areas contain only a few sentences of new content.

After being asked about the document, VeriFone said that "while many legal documents tend to use and reuse industry-acceptable language, we took your feedback into consideration and have made revisions to the agreement so that there is no misunderstanding." It then deleted over a third of the text, taking it from 43 sections to the current 25. Granted, terms of use aren't terribly original documents, but Sail and Square don't appear to be pulling from some standardized mobile payment source. PayPal, for example, has a unique user agreement for its triangular card reader. This doesn't necessarily mean that VeriFone has violated anything but good manners, although Square told GigaOm that it believed its copyright may have been violated. However, it's a not-so-subtle clue that Sail was designed specifically as a Square-killer.